Every day in the summer after I learned how to ride a bike, I would get the mail for my grandparents, and then ride next door and pick up my Nanny's and take it to her. She would talk for hours and hours and tell me stories of years ago. I guess this was where my old soul and respect for the elderly was formed. There were times my grandmother had to come find me because I had been gone so long listening to her stories. I never really just sat and thought about all those stories she told me and considered how were real they were. She has been gone for 14 years now, and I can still remember her stories and the way her house smelled like the snuff she dipped. Long story short, I've always known so much about my mom's family and all of these stories of long ago. My dad's, not so much, but that's another story for another day.
Fast forward to present day; I am home for Easter, which also coincides with what would have been my granddaddy's 83rd birthday. This is the first since his passing in January. I spent the night with my grandma, we all take turns staying with her to keep her company since he passed. She spent the morning telling new old stories looking through old pictures--some I had seen before, others I hadn't. This was one of the pictures I saw:
My granddaddy at age 16.
I'd never seen a picture of him this young. I never knew that he looked so handsome. The only other picture I could remember of him so young was from their wedding day.She was 16 and lied and said she was 18 so she could marry him. He was 21 at that time, I believe. I'd looked through so many other pictures that I'd never seen before and saw so many houses and people that I grew up with and around. I saw pictures of them first starting their lives together, and listened to her stories of just how happy she was regardless of how little they had. She said, "I didn't know that keeping house was work. I loved it. It was like playing to me. I was just so happy. He was happy."
I just stopped and stared. It was in that exact moment that it dawned on me how fast life changes. I've always known them and I've heard countless stories of them from yester-year, but I never really stopped to think that at one point, they haven't always been they way that I've only known them. Once upon a time, they were young and these stories I always hear about weren't so old.
It's hard to think, the woman that helped raise me once had hair that was a color other than grey. The man that I remember being so frail and lost in his last days, actually once was a young strong man that could fix or do anything. They were young and so in love once--just like I am now. They weren't always grandparents or great grandparents. There was a time they were kids too. My grandma was 24 once too, I mean, really think about that for a second, and actually let that sink in. They were young once, and these pictures I see in black and white, were once lived in color. Just like them, one day, life as I know it now, will be decades old and the memories we are making today will be the "remember way back when.." stories.
It's so hard to really wrap my head around how fast time has really passed by. Hearing my grandmother's stories about when she was little and how things used to be.. how simple things used to be. It's so just so different from how things are today. I hear her heartache when she talks about when they were first married and how they used to be young. I still see how much she loves that teenage boy from 1953 as much as she loved the 82 year old man he lived to be. It's so hard to think that their love story is close to and end. It really got me thinking, 60 years isn't long enough to love someone. We really don't cherish life while we have it. I need to start remembering these days, because I only have once to live my twenties. I want to have a life I look back with and smile with wonder.
Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute? -Our Town